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West Point Writing Program : PedagogicalApproaches

The West Point Writing Program
Writing as a Process & Writing to Learn

Collegiate writing programs have long agreed on the value of process writing pedagogy (PWP) and writing-to-learn (WTL) approaches. PWP frames writing as a recursive process best learned through sustained practice under the close guidance of qualified instructors. WTL privileges writing as a special mode of learning and thinking: more than a tool for communicating knowledge, writing is also a means for discovering and constructing knowledge in the first place.

At West Point, both kinds of approaches are grounded in curricular standards that inform every course linked to the Writing Program. These standards build on: 

  • small class sizes and manageable faculty grading loads;
  • the treatment of writing itself as a topic and practice in classroom instruction;
  • where possible, the design of writing assignments that encourage a full compositional process, so writers may draft their work iteratively and revise in response to feedback from multiple perspectives. 

The following table lists some PWP and WTL approaches that commonly occur in writing-intensive collegiate courses. Together, they constitute the bulk of our 'Pedagogical Model.' These strategies are employed to varying degrees in all courses that contribute directly to the Writing Program, either comprehensively (FYC = 7/7 approaches), extensively (WiM ≥4/7 approaches), or selectively (WiC and WiP ≥3/7 approaches).

Note: These approaches are specifically enumerated and explained so as to better support faculty who may not be experts in writing pedagogy, not to constrain their teaching. Course Directors and faculty determine which approaches their courses include, how to meet the intent of those approaches, and how often those approaches occur. They may collaborate with Writing Program leaders to develop plans to integrate approaches into their overall course objectives.

 
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